First Thing Today (VIP) -- February 7, 2014

February 7, 2014 12:15 AM

Good morning!

Light and choppy trade in grain, soy futures... As of 6:30 a.m. CT, corn futures are trading fractionally to 2 cents lower, soybeans are narrowly mixed and wheat futures are mostly 1 to 2 cents higher. The U.S. dollar index is posting modest gains ahead of the jobs report.

Obama to sign farm bill into law in controversial Michigan event... The multi-year path to a controversial farm bill ends today on what has become a political controversy with President Obama holding a signing ceremony outside Washington and in the state of Senate Ag Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.). None of the other three farm bill principals will attend the session.

Rebound expected in non-farm payrolls... Following the disappointing jobs report for December, economists are expecting a stronger rise in non-farm payrolls over the past month. The Labor Department is expected to show the U.S. economy added 185,000 jobs in January, though some pre-report forecasts are softening after a private-sector payrolls report from ADP earlier this week came in lighter than anticipated and showed the slowest jobs growth since August. The unemployment rate is expected to drop to 6.6% from 6.7% is last month's report.

Wyden now signals he is open to trade talks as expected new Finance chairman, but other Dems cool toward TPA... Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) said Thursday he is open to consideration of a trade bill and a broad overhaul of the tax code as he prepares to succeed outgoing Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) who on Thursday was confirmed, 96-0, as the new U.S. ambassador to China. The Democratic Caucus is expected to vote next week to formally elect two chairmen: Wyden on Finance and Mary Landrieu of Louisiana to replace Wyden as head of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee. Wyden made clear that he was open to possible changes to provisions in the trade promotion authority bill (S 1900) that Baucus developed with Orrin Hatch of Utah, the panel’s ranking Republican. House Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) has backed a companion bill (HR 3830). However, there is a consensus among Senate Democrats that the chamber should not consider trade promotion authority (TPA) legislation this year, Senate Majority Whip Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) said. This was made clear to President Barack Obama during a Feb. 6 closed-door retreat, Durbin said. "When it came to the trade promotion, there's clearly a difference between the White House and Senate Democratic Caucus," Durbin said.

Boxer: Negotiators reach compromise on key WRDA issue... Principal negotiators have reached a compromise over a major issue holding up the water resources conference report. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) said they had agreed to a compromise over differences in project authorization language in the House and Senate versions of the bill.

First look at Census of Agriculture coming in two weeks... USDA will release the first look at the 2012 Census of Agriculture results in a preliminary report on Feb. 20. The data will include number of farms, land in farms (acreage), market value of agricultural products sold including government payments and demographics at the state and national levels. USDA will release the full census results, including data to the county level, later in the spring.

Waiting on cash cattle trade... With boxed beef prices continuing to plunge from their record highs, cash cattle are expected to trade lower in the Plains. But with showlist numbers down from week-ago, especially in Nebraska, feedlots are in no hurry to sell cattle at lower prices. That could push cash cattle trade late into the day.

Pork margins tighten, but still profitable... Pork plants have seen their cutting margins tighten this week, but they remain well above breakeven. Given the strong margins, packers have incentive to push as many hogs through kill lines as possible, suggesting cash hog bids will remain steady to firmer across the Midwest to finish out the week.

Overnight demand news... South Korean feedmakers purchased two cargoes totaling 116,000 MT of U.S. corn rejected by China. Iran purchased at least 400,000 MT of Russian and EU wheat. Lebanon bought 25,000 MT of Russian wheat. Japan tendered to buy 28,655 MT of Canadian wheat.


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